Please recommend a 4WD petrol vehicle for negotiating icy rural roads?

The heavy snow over last November and December left me marooned for days because our lane was never cleared. Although fond of my ageing Polo estate, I'd have felt more confident negotiating icy rural Somerset in a 4WD, preferably manual, petrol and ideally no more than 4.3m in length but with room and easy access for two medium dogs. Can you recommend suitable new or up to four-year-old models? So far, I'm contemplating the RAV4 and am aware of the Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai. The Ford Kuga's load access is awkward and the Hyundai ix35, Skoda Octavia and KIA Sportage are all too long for my garage. Annual mileage is low and local.

Asked on 24 December 2010 by FHB, Taunton

Answered by Honest John
Yeti 4WDs are fine, but hard to get and, unless you do mega miles, better the 1.8TSI 160 than the diesels. Also consider the more compact Suzuki SX4 1.6 2WD. 2WD fitted with winter compound tyres is more effective than 4WD and winter tyres are best bought in the summer when they are cheaper, then fitted to the car from November to March. See:
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